BITTER TASTE OF SUCCESS!
Sitting in front of the open window, watching the sunset sky, how it smeared the horizon with crimson color, and how delightful it appears! Sitting in an arm chair and relaxing the life being gifted to me with so much composure and grandeur! Enjoying it with heart’s content. I am now successful by all means. From a rural background, today I am enjoying my retired life with a family, full of happy members with substantial opulence. Once in my rural upbringing, we were accustomed to form an affinity with cordial bonding with the people in and around us and the recipe of such healthy bonding were passions, emotions and traditional values which were treated at that time as our rich cultural heritage.
We were familiar with humility, not humiliation and always an unspeakable joy we were engulfed with, despite we faced numerous constraints.
During my childhood and adolescence days, my bosom friend was Akhilesh, who was from a poor peasantry family and his father was the only bread earner. Their family comprised of Akhilesh and his brother and two sisters, along with his mother, grandfather and grandmother. Akhilesh is the oldest of all. His mother was a simple house wife with lovely affable heart and they all stayed happily.
Akhilesh was an outstanding student. His level of intellect and result in studies were envious to all. He was the best student in our time. Apart from studies, he was equally good in sports and other co-curricular activities, which made an icon to follow all like us. In every social and cultural event in our village, we cannot perceive to make it successful and delightful without his direct involvement with innovative ideas of his own. His interpersonal skill, his values and fearless traits made him extremely famous in not only in our village, but people from long distance were acquainted of him. An innate capacity of leadership within him made him distinct from the rest of the folks. He played the pivotal role, accelerated us to work with vigor in various social issues. He initiated a science club in our village with an aim to fight against all petty-prejudices which were curse to us and causing impediments to our progress. Every year, he used to conduct a science fair, where various models were being exhibited with his sole endeavor and his innovative mind were largely applauded by the notable peoples, appreciated him with a hope that, in near future, our village will be producing a scientist with a distinct ace. He was like a star to our village and a model for students like us to follow with enthusiasm.
I personally used to enjoy special equation with him. He used to love me a lot. Despite he was little senior than me, but his affection and support for me, gave me enormous strength and scientific vision for which I am indebted to him forever. His intention was to invent something which can bring elation and conveniences for the majority. His philosophy of life was far ahead of his time, which eventually drawn veneration from all of us.
One day, when he was perusing his studying in the 11th grade, abruptly owing to cerebral attack, his father perpetually lost his capacity to work. Being paralyzed he had to resort to bed. Entire responsibility of his family came to Akhilesh’s shoulder, as he was the eldest of all his siblings. He had to quit his studies, despite being extraordinarily meritorious. To pull out the livelihood and to sustain with the family affairs, looking after the dependents, apart from agriculture of their small agrarian land, he opened a shop in the local market to sell vegetable items. His brother and sisters are too small and he was determined to ensure their education along with his ailing father’s treatment, he had to work extra bit. Life thus moved on without producing much ripples in our apparently calm village life, when there was no mobile phones, Televisions and other modern gadgets, which later almost changed entirely our modern corporate life.
I used to keep contact with him, though with a purpose of my own, that is to seek help as well his advice in terms of my studying affairs, as I emphasized, he was apparently far ahead of our time with an exquisite superior faculty. He enabled me a lot to excel in my academic career. From his unique ideas, I used to make number of scientific models which contained the fundamentals of scientific approaches with ample clarity, eventually enabled me to garner commendations from various academic quarters. Thus, once I was selected as a promising talent in science and ultimately paved the way for me to enter a portal of science of national interest. I eventually shifted from rural to urban ambiance and gradually my career graph reached to its zenith. I got opportunity to study in abroad and capable to make a fabulous career. By the god’s grace, I made a niche and I achieved almost everything I wanted. But, I cannot rule out, my foundation was being made by Akhilesh. However, my small family with my only son and daughter, who are both well settled in abroad, and now, I along with my wife are enjoying an absolute rest with sheer peace. I sometimes ruminate about my past, my pleasant memories and a sense of satisfaction keeps me in utter contentment.
While ruminating about my past, my colleagues, my friends, suddenly the name of Akhilesh flashed in my memory, which I never thought while I was speedily climbing the ladder of success. It was Akhilesh, who kindled the flame of scientific zeal on me in my early life who owe a lot to me! He enabled me to acquire a vision which eventually made me successful. His ideas I resorted to promote scientific models and garner extol by exhibiting those in various science symposium.
Poor Akhilesh never knew how much he had helped me to become successful! He never thought even, as he was busy to swim in the turbulence of life he was confronting with. Struggling to survive with a huge family burden, he gradually spent his entire youth and vigor. Gradually, in the passage of time, he was equally faded away from my memory too, as I was entirely engrossed in making my own career, having no time literally to ponder about my past.
Now in the fag end of life, my mind abruptly clouded with a bite of conscience. I am feeling guilty and having qualms too, which is not allowing me to live in peace any more. A moral responsibility I felt to interact with him and offer him his due recognition for my rise. I am only feeling, why not I extended my little support, knowing fully about his financial constraints. I am now repenting for my misdeeds. Friendship means, feeling the same pain and a sense of empathy for the one who is close to my heart. To share the pain and helping one in distress is the moral duty of a true friend, which I ignored only being self-centered with my own rise and success. I knew, Akhilesh like blooming bud could not bloom only due to financial distress, lest, he could equally be a famous one. Being successful one and financially sound, how could I focused only on my own luxury and comfort? How could I myself alienate from the value based traditional milieu in my village vicinity? Why and how, success became my only ideology?
I felt an urgent need to go back to my root, my village, my friends and close associates, and precisely to Akhilesh, begging for apology, and if he is desirous to take any assistance from me, I will render my level best, for the sake of atonement.
Next morning, I got up little early, making up my mind to visit to my village, where we have our ancestor’s house, though only caretaker Ramen lives there nowadays. My wife is utterly surprise by my decision. But, she prepared all arrangements along with my medicines, which are nowadays my only companion, as success took toll of my life by giving me the ailments of sugar and pressure like diseases. I have to take medicines regularly to keep myself fit. Besides, my children, though they live abroad, they regularly make calls and express their worry, regarding my health.
However, in the morning, I started my journey in my car and reached my home by noon. In my ancestral house, Ramen, my care taker who knew me since childhood, is too elated to take notice of me after long time. His showered his affection for me, which is truly pristine in nature.
In the afternoon, after taking my lunch, I have a little nap. In the evening I advanced towards Akhilesh’s house with a desire to have tea in his house. I am equally thrilled to meet with him after a long time. When I reached his house, I knocked the door. I find the house in a dilapidated state. Little later a lady appeared and opened the door. She is amazed to take notice of a stranger. When I give my introduction to her, she felt quite contented. She replied, “I have heard your name numerous occasions from my husband. Come inside please.’ Her cordial invitation made me comfortable. I said to her, ‘where is Akhilesh? Is he not in the house?’ she answered, ‘since five years he is bed ridden. He met an accident in the street and since then he has been paralyzed. She is in the next room.’ I entered to the room she instructed me and I found Akhiles is almost like a skeleton, laying on the bed, keeping his eyes closed. I asked him,’Akhilesh, how are you?’ he could not reply. Only staring at me meaninglessly. Then her wife said, ‘he is now suffering in Alzheimer’s disease and unable to recognize anybody. Only sometime he gives response to my command. That also perhaps, he is accustomed with me for a long time.’
I am utterly crest-fallen. I felt my visit is almost useless. I am sheer speechless. I cannot console his wife; neither have the capacity to divulge my intent of visit. Somehow I managed to garner courage and said to his wife, ‘if you don’t mind madam, I have little money to offer, only with a hope to provide better treatment for him and if you kindly accept it, I would be grateful to you.’ She replied, 'what is the point to accept it? Doctor has given the ultimatum. He will hardly survive for few weeks. Because he lost the desire to live, and no patient can survive if he lost the desire to live.’
I felt utterly helpless. Only thing I could comprehend evidently, that when success becomes the only ideology, we are bound to loss so many imperatives, which are the gems of life and life becomes meaningless without possessing those gems. Apology like pathological measures will never soothe our life, unless we have an ideology, which have no relation with individual success and mundane gains. Sometimes apology and atrophy are synonymous!